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Sharapova's injury-free

Multiple Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has declared herself fully fit for next week's Australian Open, after having her preparations hampered by a forearm injury.

The Russian world No. 5 was forced to withdraw from the Brisbane International last week with the ailment, sparking fears she might miss the first Grand Slam of the year which begins on Monday.

The 2008 Australian Open champion and last year's runner-up opted to arrive in Melbourne early to practise, rather than seek matches at one of the other warm-up tournaments taking place across the country this week.

"The injury was a bit of a roadblock, but the great thing is that I've been healthy and everyone's been away playing, so I've had a lot of court time which has been really beneficial," Sharapova said yesterday.

-- PHOTO: REUTERS

The 28-year-old, who missed the US Open last year because of a leg injury, believes it's understandable for players to be wary ahead of a Major.

"Everyone sees the bigger picture and that's one of the things that I thought about," she said.

"You want to do what you can to be healthy and be a part of the Grand Slam

"So sometimes that's a decision you have to make." 


- Reuters.

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